Meet Jackie Sedlock
A Bit About Jackie
About Jackie Sedlock
I spent my childhood rambling through the forests and fields of Western Massachusetts where sneaking in to mills and abandoned buildings was a daily pastime. I am in love with the hand work of rural life–growing food, making functional pots for daily use, and inhabiting place over time. I’m interested in how this work connects us with the land and with one another. I see ritual and devotion in this kind of living, and seek to visually communicate this connection in my daily practice with clay.
I am a 1988 graduate of Mt Ida College, where I studied Graphic Design, a 1995 graduate of Bennington College with a concentration in ceramics and fashion history. I have apprenticed with Ray Bub and Susan Nykiel of Oak Bluffs Pottery in Pownal, Vermont, taught ceramics at the Buxton School in Williamstown, MA from 1994-2002, and have taught in my private studio for 9 years. I have been making pots since 1989.
“The kiln is a fascinating tool. It both invites and requires your very active participation in the
creation of your art, hands on, feeding the dragon as the magic happens inside.”
The Art of Fire
Preparing wood, making glazes with ash from trees on our property are all part of the process of wood firing my pottery. A few years ago as I re-evaluated my work after many years as a potter, it became clear to me that I wanted my pots to better reflect the oneness that had become me and my work and my life and my connection with the natural world. Asking myself questions about what has meaning in my work and being curious about how to further connect my pots to everything in my life is part of my daily practice.
Making pots and firing them in the wood fire kiln transforms them in a way that connects all aspects of my life. The process demands all of my attention. I can be doing nothing else when I’m centering clay, or loading the kiln, or stoking the fire during a 20 hour firing. This making is all consuming, as is the fire when the kiln reaches 2300f. All aspects of making become distilled in the fire. And, I must pay attention to the kiln when firing. The sound of the fire is truly elemental; it’s the sound of millions of years of minerals and flame and air, and even water vapor. The pots are being transformed in a roaring tunnel of fire doing it’s work after I’ve formed them and entrusted them to it. When I am present at the wheel and at the kiln I know I have done my best. When I pay attention at the kiln and become still enough to hear and see the melting glaze and ash, and listen to the fire, I know the fire and I are doing our best.
We wait for three days after firing for the kiln to cool. We slowly unbrick (the door is built with bricks each time we fire the kiln) the door and begin to unload the kiln. After the many hours it takes to load and fire the kiln, it takes just a couple hours to unload the pots. However, it takes me weeks to process the results. I will handle the pots many times between cleaning, studying, and photographing each one. Often the first viewing is deceiving and I must leave the pots and return to them to learn more about the surface. Sometimes a pot I discount as unimpressive during unloading becomes more interesting with time. Wood firing has taught me to pay attention and to allow elements and time to do their best work.
I hope you enjoy seeing these pots from my April 2021 wood firing.
All the best,
139 E Quincy Street
North Adams, MA? 01247, USA
In the Heart of the Berkshires Art Community
Around the Clock, Around the World